Tag Archives: singing

OPOL or bust? What’s the best method for language learning?

I’ve heard it said many times that one parent one language (OPOL) is the best if not only way of family language learning. It is often held up as the Holy Grail of bilingual families.
In our home OPOL was not possible, as my husband was not keen to do this. He’d only lived in England two years by then and felt consolidating his English was most important. I’m native English and had studied German to GCSE, so started to pass on what I knew when our son was small. Maik did help me work on my German, so me and my son were learning together. We found some French books in a local shop when he was a little over a year and we started to read those to him now and again.

Il fait comment le caméléon?

Il fait comment le caméléon?


It was all very ad hoc, and in the very early internet days we did not come across anyone doing the same. I just felt it was important so we shared German books together, recited days of the week in the car, sung along to nursery rhyme CDs, counted on the swings, played with toys which spoke German and watched German DVDs together as well as German satellite TV. My thinking was to give as much language exposure as possible which he could build on in school. Yearly visits to Germany provided a good chance for him to meet German speaking people and practice speaking. Food vocab was considered most important! We celebrated German festivals like Martinstag and Nikolaustag together. It was hard work and I was not sure how much difference it was making.
A few years later my girls were born and I met a few German speaking mums with similar age children. It was so encouraging to be able to speak to someone outside our family in German and talk with them about how they brought German into their family. We shared books, DVDs and CDs which was great. We also found out about a German Lutheran church about an hour away so we were able to join with them for Martinstag and Nikolaustag.Nikolaus Boots
My children are not fluent in German but can understand a lot and communicate in the country. My son can easily pick up native accents (and mimic regional accents too) and speaks better Dutch than his parents. I put this down to hearing and using a few languages from a young age. My six year old was astounded when I told her some families only speak English.

So back to the opening question, OPOL or bust? What’s the best method for language learning?
I think there is no best way of family language learning. Raising multilingual children is a flexible and very personal process, do what works for you and your family, make it part of your lifestyle. It needs to be something which works for you and your family in the long term.
Bilingualism is a massive asset to your children in the long term and as parents we are so fortunate to be able to give it to our children. Just do what works for you all and enjoy the journey together.

What has been your family experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or you could even write us a guest blog.

Song translating fun.

Savez-vous-planter-les-chouxThe songs we use in our classes are a mix of those familiar English nursery rhymes and songs like Incy Wincy spider and traditional songs in the target language to help the families appreciate that culture. We have a few French songs I’d love to use but we’ve not yet got English translations that can be sung to the same tune to help introduce the song. We’re also starting working on our French CD so it all becomes a bit more urgent!

We were sat round the table having Sunday tea and I asked my family for ideas. This is how it went…

The first song was Mernier tu dors

Meunier, tu dors, (mime sleeping)
Ton moulin, va trop vite. (roll arms)
Meunier, tu dors, (mime sleeping)
Ton moulin, va trop fort
Ton moulin, ton moulin (roll arms faster)
Va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin (roll arms backwards)
Va trop fort.
Ton moulin, ton moulin
Va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin
Va trop fort.

My eight year old started and after five minutes we had this translation which can be sung and keeps the feel of the song.

Miller, wake up
The wind it is blowing
Miller, wake up.
The wind it is strong.

Your windmill, your windmill,
It is too fast.
Your windmill, your windmill,
is too strong.
Your windmill, your windmill,
It is too fast.
Your windmill your windmill,
is too strong.

It you don’t know the song here is a live version we recorded last year.

This second song, I’ve wanted to use for ages. It has a fun tune, is silly and is a great way to learn body parts. It must be fairly old as my mum learned it at school!

Savez-vous planter les choux
À la mode, à la mode
Savez-vous planter les choux
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec les pieds
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec les pieds
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le genou
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le genou
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le nez
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le nez
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le coude
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le coude
À la mode de chez nous

The google translate of this is hilarious !

“Do you plant cabbage
Fashionable, trendy
Do you plant cabbage
The way we do it at home”

After a few minutes we came up with.

Cabbage planting is such fun
Like we do it, like we do it.
Cabbage planting is such fun,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our feet,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our feet,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our knee,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our knee,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our nose,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our nose
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our elbow,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our elbow
Like we do it, come along.

Next term’s French class we’ll be reading “la petit poule rousse” The little red hen. We’ll finally we using this song.

I need to find a cabbage prop! Any ideas where?

Do you use songs in your language learning? Do you have fun translating them. Let me know in the comments below.

Learn to sing Twinkle Twinkle in five languages

Love singing? Join us to learn to sing Twinkle twinkle in five languages. You’ll be a polyglot before you know it!

In English

In German

In Spanish

In Esperanto

In Mandarin

You may notice the translations have slightly different meanings. Song translation is tricky. We tend to go with the feeling of the song and flow over direct translation.

Which language do you prefer to sing it in? Let us know in the comments below.

Chinese New Year- my Lesson Plan

Lion danceFebruary 8th 2016 is the start of the Chinese New Year This year is the year of the Monkey. We’re taking part in Chinatown in Chesham in a few weeks. We’ve got three classes in local schools for early years and KS1.

 

So last year, I wrote a brilliant lesson using the great songs by Toni Wang at a little mandarin. It’s a lot of fun and children pick up some simple Mandarin words.

This is my lesson plan for the session lasting about 20 minutes. I hope it inspires you to use Mandarin in your classroom.
The lyrics for all the songs are available on http://alittlemandarin.com/lyrics/ I printed them out on A4 card, put a related picture on the other side and laminated it.
The story I used  was the really simple one from Twinkl .

Learning objective:
To hear, sing and speak a little Mandarin and hear about the cultural traditions for Chinese New Year.

By the end of  session the children should be able to say hello “nĭ hăo” and good bye “zài jiàn” and have become familiar with the songs. They are likely to be able to sing the Two tigers song by repeating it. They will also have realised learning another language is a lot of fun.

The lesson outline is as follows.

dancing dragonLingotastic Chinese New Year class

Blast off to China (with rockets) One two three blast off  “yi er san diăn huŏ”

Meet the Dragon and say hello to him “nĭ hăo” If the children are feeling brave you I take the dragon to talk to individual children, a great way to repeat this phrase with them. The dragon is taking us on a New Year adventure with lots of friends to meet along the way.

Tell the Dragon’s story (Chinese zodiac story with lots of animal props) As the children hear their animal mentioned they need to wave it. Twinkl  have a brilliant simple version.

After we’ve crossed the river in the story we meet the Jade Emperor. It’s his birthday so we can all sing  Happy Birthday to the Jade Emperor in Mandarin  shēng rì kuài lè

The dragon asks can we sing it again?  please- “qĭng”

 

It’s time to find the two tigers together. Bring out the two tiger props and teach the song.

Sing two tigers with actions (in Mandarin)  liǎng zhī láo hǔ

We need to say  thank you to tigers for playing with us“xié xié”

 

Of we go again. We’ve got a friend to find. Time to find a friend

We can’t find them, they are cleaning the house ready for the new year.

On the songcard, notice the children are wearing red and gold lucky colours for the new year.

Find a friend (musical game) (in Mandarin) Play the song and pause after they sing “nǐ shì wǒ de hǎo péng yǒu” (You are my good friend.) The chidren need to find a friend and shake hands with them. Continue the song stopping at “nǐ shì wǒ de hǎo péng yǒu” and the childen find another friend to shake hands with.

 

So now we’re all ready for the New Year. It’s time to sing.

Happy new year song (in Mandarin)  xīn nián hǎo

The Dragon needs to go now, to look after the water and bring rain.

All say good bye “zài jiàn” to dragon. If you have time the dragon (and you) can go round and say it to each child so repeating it many times.finished_rockets

Blast off back to England with the rockets. Another chance to count together.

 

We use rockets as we always do at Lingotastic. It is our way of travelling to the different countries. It’s a good way to introduce some numbers.

The songs here are familiar tunes or very simple. I learned these songs by singing along to a little mandarin CD mostly in the car. My children learned them too. In the same order I did. I figured if we could learn them by singing other people could too.

 

I’m really happy to chat with you about how you could use this in your classroom. Get in touch Sarah@Lingotastic.co.uk

Santa’s favourite language learning resource!

As you may know Santa is THE most multilingual person on the planet as he reads letters from children all over the world. I even saw him signing on Facebook this week.

As a fellow polyglot he also was the first to get his hands on our brand new of Mostly German CD and I’m sure he’d like to put one in your stocking.

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We launched Lingotastic in January 2014. It’s been a very very exciting journey.
This week has been the most exciting so far. We picked up our physical copies of our Mostly German CD.

CD box

We also shot a silly video of the unboxing. I’m sure it will make you giggle too!

We’ve sold a few copies so far and had some brilliant feedback.
I loved recording the CD and it really comes through in the recording.

Singing is a really powerful tool in language learning, research is now showing. In singing you pick up the sounds of a language and quickly join in yourself. By bypassing the analytical part of the brain, you quickly acquire a good accent. This works for grown ups as well as children. When singing, you are no longer limited by grammar tables and vocab lists, free to enjoy the language and learn along the way.

For little ones, it’s an amazing foundation in language learning and the start of a bright future. We’ve seen this time and time again in our classes and now you can enjoy it at home too, with the most popular songs from our German classes. Most of these songs have not been translated into English before. We’ve also included verses in French, Spanish, Mandarin and Esperanto. Contrary to popular belief this does not confuse language learners (big and small) but actually helps language acquisition. Though these songs may be children’s songs, adults will enjoy singing along too.

Santa has his copy and I’m sure he’d like to put one in your stocking.

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Get yours at www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shopLingo_web_CD

 

Download yours at

Our birthday, NEW CD and holiday classes

This week has been so exciting I may pop!

It is two years since our first EVER class. A free trial at Chesham library.

laterneumzug

It’s been an exciting two years, going from one class a week to four.

Watching some gorgeous little ones grow up and saying goodbye as some move on to school.

Connecting with some amazing language enthusiasts, language businesses and language teachers both in the virtual world and the real world as we’ve met up at Language Show live.

The class (and business) is very different to when we started out with many more props, puppets and bubbles not to mention our own custom made rockets and floor mats designed and made by the amazing Emily Kane

Thanks to all of you who have come along and made the classes so much fun.

Happy Birthday Lingotastic!

Our biggest news is the launch of our first CD- mostly German

It has been a lot of fun to record, which I’m sure you’ll hear!

Lingo_web_CD

Our CD will be available to buy in classes from 14th December, at our special Christmas holiday class and in our online shop.

You will be able to preorder from Saturday 5th on our shop www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shop
Stay tuned for our special pre release offer.

It is great stocking filler and perfect timing ready for the German term in the New Year! You’ll be singing along in the car and at home and picking up lots of German (and a few words in other languages too!)

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As I mentioned before we have our Christmas holiday class coming up on 21st December. 10 am at the Chesham venue 188 Severalls Ave.
We’ll be blasting off to Spain, meeting los tres reyes (the three kings) and joining their journey following the star (la estrella) and singing some brilliant Christmas songs like Feliz Navidad. We’ve a brilliant craft too with some really gorgeous craft materials.

It’s a great way to start the Christmas holiday!

If you don’t know Feliz Navidad already, learn it with us!

Shop

Lingo_web_CD

Our new “Mostly German” CD is on sale now.

Singing is a really powerful tool in language learning, research is now showing. In singing you pick up the sounds of a language and quickly join in yourself. By bypassing the analytical part of the brain, you quickly acquire a good accent. This works for grown ups as well as children. When singing, you are no longer limited by grammar tables and vocab lists, free to enjoy the language and learn along the way.

For little ones, it’s an amazing foundation in language learning and the start of a bright future. We’ve seen this time and time again in our classes and now you can enjoy it at home too, with the most popular songs from our German classes. Most of these songs have not been translated into English before. We’ve also included verses in French, Spanish, Mandarin and Esperanto. Contrary to popular belief this does not confuse language learners (big and small) but actually helps language acquisition.Though these songs may be children’s songs, adults will enjoy singing along too.

Get your own copy, and see how much fun language learning can be!

We’ve been enjoying it as a family in the car this weekend. Bopping along to “Grün Grün Grün / Green, green, green”, hopping with the bunnies with “Häschen in der Grube/ Bunny in the burrow” and riding our bus with “Die Räder am Bus”. My kids keep requesting it which is a seal of approval to me!

This has been our school run sound track for the past two weeks. It’s packed with catchy tunes in “mostly” German but there’s a bit of French, Spanish and even some Chinese too. We’re getting quite good! – Kate Eccles

The CD is only £10.

It’s a great present and a fantastic family language learning tool.

Postage within the UK is an extra £1.99, if you are further afield then please Contact Us. CD will be given to you at that class or before if you are already at weekly classes.

 

 

 

 

Checkout

 

 

 

 

Track listing

Guten Morgen/ Lingotastic welcome song (German, French, Spanish & Mandarin)

Häschen in der Grube/ Bunny in the burrow (German & English)

Summ, summ, summ/ Buzz, buzz, buzz (German & English)

Frère Jacques/ Brother John (French, German, Spanish & English)

Grün Grün Grün/ Green, green, green (English & German)

Hopp, hopp, hopp/ Hop, hop, hop (German & English)

Die Räder am Bus/ The wheels on the bus (English & German)

Alle meine Entchen/ All my little ducklings (German & English)

Blinke, blinke, kleiner Stern/ Twinkle twinkle little star (German, English, Spanish, Mandarin & Esperanto)

 

 

Here are some of our favourite Spanish books from class for you to read together at home.

Here are some of our favourite French books from class for you to read together at home.

Here are some of our favourite German books from class for you to read together at home.

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Spanish

Manuel¡Hola! At Lingotastic we love to sing and play and make in Spanish. We love to share a Spanish story together too. Manuel is our friendly Spanish speaking puppet who encourages children to speak Spanish in a group setting. We sing lots of fun active songs and children and grown ups soon join in and sing along in Spanish. We often have a mix of bilingual families, expert speakers, those who spoke Spanish at school, total beginners and it works really well. Through this fun we help promote family language learning by modelling simple techniques you can continue at home.

Spanish weekly classes start in September

German

HeinzGuten Tag! At Lingotastic we love to sing and play and make in German. We love to share a German story together too. Heinz is our friendly German speaking puppet who encourages children to speak German in a group setting. We sing lots of fun active songs and children and grown ups soon join in and sing along in German. We often have a mix of bilingual families, expert speakers, those who spoke German at school, total beginners and it works really well. Through this fun we help promote family language learning by modelling simple techniques you can continue at home.

German weekly classes restart January 2015 For holiday classes keep an eye on the front page. 1 to 1 German available all year round

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French

PascalBonjour! At Lingotastic we love to sing and play and make in French. We love to share a French story together too. Pascale is our friendly French speaking puppet who encourages children to speak French in a group setting. We sing lots of fun active songs and children and grown ups soon join in and sing along in French. We often have a mix of bilingual families, expert speakers, those who spoke French at school, total beginners and it works really well. Through this fun we help promote family language learning by modelling simple techniques you can continue at home.

French weekly classes start in November

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